May 14, 2012

Kreider's two-point night leads Rangers to Game 1 win

By Jesse Connolly

Chris Kreider (left) celebrates his third period goal in Game 1 with Artem Anisimov. (Getty Images)

On a night when college hockey’s national champions, Boston College, were throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park, one member of the title-winning squad was busy helping his new team move a step closer toward securing a championship of their own.

Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.) had a goal and an assist in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, leading the Rangers to a 3-0 victory over the Devils at Madison Square Garden.

After a scoreless two periods that saw Marty Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist stop all 35 shots they faced, New York opened the scoring 53 ticks into the third. Kreider earned the primary assist on the first goal of the night, setting up defenseman Dan Girardi for a blast from the point that beat Brodeur.

With 10:24 gone, Devils forward Steve Bernier was whistled for boarding, putting the Blueshirts on the man advantage.

With 1:36 gone in the power play, Artem Anisimov got the puck to Kreider. He sent a blistering snap shot from the top of the left circle past Brodeur to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.

“I think he’s been responsible away from the puck and he’s been consistently understanding how we have to play,” Rangers coach John Tortorella (Melrose, Mass.) said of Kreider in his post-game press conference.

“We want him to be instinctive and I think he’s done a really good job of that, as far as chasing down things and shooting the puck. Obviously (he had) a quick release on his goal. He’s played well.”

New Jersey managed just four shots in the final frame, as the Rangers effectively blocked shots and limited the Devils’ time in the offensive zone.

With 1:27 gone and Brodeur off for the extra attacker, Brian Boyle – the Rangers’ other BC alum -- skated down the middle of the offensive zone and dished the puck off to Anisimov. Boyle earned the helper on the empty-netter, making it a three-point night for New York’s pair of former Eagles.

The Rangers will look to go ahead 2-0 in the series when they host Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.